Nairobi, August 28, 2023 – In a monumental stride towards improving education and tackling urban poverty, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja unveiled the “Dishi na County” initiative today, marking the official commencement of a program set to provide hot, nutritious meals to primary school and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) students in Nairobi’s public schools. The first phase, launched at Baba Dogo Primary School in Ruaraka constituency, served more than 88,000 children their first warm lunch, symbolizing the program’s tangible impact.
Governor Sakaja announced that this ambitious venture, backed by 10 state-of-the-art kitchens, is just the beginning. These kitchens, strategically established across the city, will already cater to the dietary needs of 88,000 students, with plans to scale up to feed an additional 100,000 children within the next three weeks. Ultimately, the program aims to reach a staggering 350,000 students citywide.
“We are committed to leaving no child behind due to hunger,” affirmed Governor Sakaja during the launch. “This program is a testament to our promise of tangible action for the people of Nairobi. It’s about ensuring that education thrives, unmarred by empty stomachs and impossible choices.”
Cognizant of the urban poverty dynamics that place Nairobi’s children at risk, Sakaja pledged to partner with the national government to construct 5,000 new classrooms. This strategic move aims to accommodate the anticipated surge in school enrollments, bridging the education gap further.
Under the Dishi na County initiative, parents are required to contribute a mere five shillings per day for each child’s meal. This payment system employs user-friendly tap-to-eat technology, promoting efficiency and transparency.
Governor Sakaja left no room for doubt about the program’s integrity: “We commit to transparency and prudent utilization of public funds. This program will be conducted with the utmost accountability, respecting the hard-earned taxes of Nairobi’s citizens.”
Health, Nutrition, and Wellness County Executive Committee member Suzanne Silantoi, instrumental in the program’s launch, received commendation from the governor. Her dedication played a vital role in setting the wheels of Dishi na County in motion.
Echoing this sentiment, Member of Parliament TJ Kajwang recognized the initiative’s significance for the people of Nairobi. “Governor Sakaja’s choice to launch this program here in Ruaraka showcases its community-centered nature. This endeavor will enhance school enrollments and, thus, demand for additional educational facilities.”
Nairobi County Secretary Parick Analo outlined the innovative three-stage approach for program implementation. In the first stage, lunch meals will be prepared daily by Food for Education, the program’s implementing partner. These environmentally conscious kitchens span Nairobi’s 17 sub-counties and adhere to rigorous national and international safety standards, including those recommended by the World Health Organization.
The second stage, set to launch in three weeks, will further augment the initiative’s scope, followed by the final stage. As the “Dishi na County” program takes root, it stands as a beacon of hope, providing not just sustenance but also nurturing education and the dreams of Nairobi’s children.